Check out the best Vegan spots from local Jane Gardner:
Plant-based eating is one of the biggest food trends of 2018 and according to the Vegan Society, there are now over three million vegans in the UK. This number is set to rise thanks to the popularity of vegan content on social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube providing information and inspiration for anyone curious about this lifestyle.
Here, local ‘Just Jane Vegan’ gives the lowdown on where to go for your vegan and veggie fix…
“When I first became vegan in 2016, it was evident that there weren’t many options at all for eating out on the Island. Visiting friends of mine were horrified to learn that there was actually more on offer back in our little North East hometown of Hartlepool! Which was surprising and disappointing, especially as many Island eateries pride themselves on serving good, locally sourced food (which I had always previously bragged about) and Hartlepool is well, Hartlepool. My 4 year old enthusiastically beamed “I know where you can get vegan food!! McDonalds!! They have chips!!” #facepalm. This is gradually changing however, as restaurants and pubs across the Island are slowly, but surely, beginning to adapt menus. In other words, I no longer have to settle for salad and chips (which are fine, but come on).
So, whether you’re a full blown ethical vegan who has chosen to eliminate all animal products from your lifestyle, a plant-based eater, vegetarian or curious flexitarian, there are now more and more places on the Island offering meat, dairy and egg free options.
Living in the West Wight, I’ve never been short of good places to eat. Personal favourites of mine include The Piano Café, The Red Lion and The Hut. All of which have always been happy to accommodate me, even at short notice, showing how easily you can ‘veganise’ a non-vegan dish and turn it into something enjoyable, delicious and even a bit healthier. Off The Rails in Yarmouth now have a few offerings on its menu including the Vegan Burger, Black Garlic Pesto Pasta, and more recently, Smokebox Chilli which I’m still yet to try, but I swear I could almost taste it just by ogling the picture on Instagram.
Just before Christmas, I ventured out to the Wight Mouse Inn in Chale, where a full vegan Christmas menu was on offer. It was a fantastic offering with three courses, each having THREE different dishes to choose from. I found it really difficult to decide what to have as it all looked so tempting. It was great value for money with hearty portions (I had to bring leftovers home in a box) and you could tell the chefs had really gone to an effort to research the ingredients. The staff were even clued up on which booze was suitable for vegans (yes, a lot of alcoholic drinks are not actually vegan, but that’s another story).
It’s not just the pubs and restaurants that have been cottoning on. Being a mother of three, I spend a fair bit of time at Tapnell Farm Park. Ok too much time. Particularly in the café. This is because I know that whilst the kids are getting a good run around, I have the bonus of treating myself to a selection of vegan cakes, flapjacks, energy balls, chocolate bars, Hippeas snacks, dairy free yogurts and dairy free hot chocolate. They have just added a vegan burger to their menu and plenty of vegetarian options too. In fact, there are three plant-based milks to choose from for your Latte including oat, soya and almond, which is just fantastic.
Lately I’m hearing of ‘Vegan Nights’ popping up in places all across the Island and you’ll find sellers such as The Vegan Boys, Souporium, Slab Fudge and DumplingDumpling at the ILOVEWIGHT food market in Brading.
Do vegan and the vegans will come. I dare say this movement is steadily gaining momentum. And I love it.”
There are plenty of places to try that cater for vegans and vegetarians, try:
The Garlic Farm
The White Hart, Havenstreet
The Sun Inn, Calbourne
Ventnor Botanic Garden
The Basque Kitchen
Vegan Boys supper clubs begin Wednesday 23rd May at Vintage Vacations
Taste of the Wight is the Isle of Wight’s free local guide to food and drink. Now in its fifth year, it has cemented itself as the number one, independent companion for eating out on the Island.